1. Based on your experience and familiarity with the Pew program, what did the program really accomplish? What are the most important contributions?
I think the best thing that the Pew program did was that it took people, mostly from different disciplines, and gave them very similar training. There were four programs and each one had different goals but essentially it developed this cohort of people who could do health services research, who could do health policy, and who could talk the language and walk the walk and put them out there all over the place. Pew developed this huge network. Not only did it help those who went through the program but it also helped shape health care and health policy. I think that's one of the most important contributions.
I can go anywhere, to any meeting, and start talking, and someone will say, "What's your background?" I'll happen to mention that I'm a Pew health policy fellow and they'll say, "Oh yeah? I was a health policy fellow too!" I think the other thing for me, on a personal level, is that I really felt nurtured through the program by the staff and faculty, particularly Steve Crane (even though he was at BU; we had the joint program then). He was a real mentor. I also got some good mentoring here, and we nurtured each other. My class was particularly tight. We nurtured each other and sort of developed a need to mentor other people. That was nice; I enjoyed that. Now I find myself in a mentoring position for students and even for some colleagues, and I am prepared. The Pew program sort of facilitated that.
Network building began in the first year. In the first year, all the first-year fellows go to Washington, D.C. You were introduced right away to the Washington scene and the hot issues of the moment, the real cutting-edge issues. If you wanted to know about health care reform you got the latest and the greatest right there. It got students really excited. And, it helped to bridge the programs, to develop that commonality and similar approach to health and health policy. The same thing was true of the annual meetings. The great thing about the Pew program is that it got people excited about the issues and exposed them to the experts, and I'm sad to see that ending. It was almost as if you too became a cutting-edge person. The conversations are incredibly intellectual yet practical at the same time. You felt like, "Wow, we can change the